paradiseNot too long ago, I attended the Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony for Paradise Donuts & Cafe. The donuts looked amazing, and the cinnamon rolls were as big as my head and probably much more delicious, but I was trying to be healthy. I got a jalapeño sausage roll instead. I mean, there’s less sugar, and jalapeños count as vegetables. Right?

I found out later that Paradise also serves lunch. Rare for a donut shop, so I meant to check it out.

Last Thursday, moreClaremore got a phone call from Paradise owner Charlie Steigerwald. He asked about advertising. I asked if I could write a story. He offered to feed me. I love free food. Sold.

Charlie had asked me to come by after the lunch rush, so I arrived at 1p. If you’re not sure where it is, it’s located at 1100 S. Lynn Riggs, south on 66, near Burger King and the $4 Car Wash. Maybe it’s the $5 Car Wash. Either way.

paradiseThe lunch menu primarily consists of sandwiches: choices are pulled pork, sliced brisket or smoked chicken salad, which is a customer favorite, and served on a choice of wheatberry or Italian white. A choice of chips or potato salad and drink round out the meal, and is just $4.99 Monday – Friday. In today’s economy, that’s an excellent deal. If you’re wondering, I opted for the pulled pork with potato chips. The sweet barbecue sauce was the perfect addition. The portions were great, and it was a really good lunch.

I munched on chips as I asked Charlie how he came to be in the donut business. He did not have a restaurant background, and it’s a known fact that donut people have to wake up really, really early. Why donuts?

It turns out that Charlie used to own a seamless guttering company. He was done with ladders, tired of two-stories, sick of looking for reliable employees, and really over risking his life every day for gutters. One morning he made a stop at a Paradise Donuts. He ordered two glazed donuts, which he promptly devoured. He went back and got another dozen to take home to his family, and proceeded to eat most of them on the way home. He was sold. Which led to my next question: why Paradise? Charlie countered with a question of his own, “Have you tried a donut?” I had to admit that my experience was limited to that jalapeño sausage roll at the ribbon-cutting. He jumped up and fetched me a glazed. The first thing I noticed was that it was thicker than typical donuts. Taller, somehow. Or perhaps just larger all around. It was fantastic.

paradiseApparently the mix, “Paradise Mix”, as it’s called, is made only with top quality ingredients. Seems like a simple formula for success. Charlie gave me some more info about it, technical Paradise insider knowledge, but the most important lesson is quality.

In addition to all the popular standard donut flavors (glazed, cake, bear claw, so on and so forth), Paradise sells sausage rolls, but they offer three varieties. They have the aforementioned jalapeño with cheese, regular with cheese for the less adventurous, and an Italian sausage roll made with mozzarella and sourdough. Charlie sent me home with some samples, and I can personally vouch for the apple fritter, and another concoction that contained cream cheese and pecans.

The team at Paradise doesn’t just stick with what they know; on the day I met with Charlie, they had invented the “breakfast pie,” which was a round sausage patty wrapped in dough and fried with glaze. It was a 10 ounce pile of sweet and salty deliciousness. The next day was going to be a test run for the breakfast pie. I’d buy one in a heartbeat.

I asked Charlie about the “getting up to beat the sun” aspect of the donut biz, and it turns out, he got smart. He hired Harry, the donut-maker. Harry gets to the shop at 1a and begins frying the day’s donuts. Charlie arrives before the shop opens at 5a. Charlie’s take on his new venture? It’s a lot more consistent and much less dangerous than the gutter industry.

Paradise Donuts & Cafe is open seven days a week. Monday through Friday hours are 5a – 2p, and lunch is served. On Saturday and Sunday, the shop is open for breakfast only from 6a until 11a. Paradise has a drive-thru, so you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas. For all the latest info, follow them on Facebook!

Keep it local, Claremore.

-MCM Staffer Ashley, 

lover of donuts and sausage rolls and all things breakfast

ashley